Lowering the Cost of Your Summer Road Trip

Posted on 05/24/2012

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and a big opportunity for road trips. AAA estimates that 34.8 million Americans will venture at least 50 miles from home, a half million more than last year. Roughly nine in ten of those travelers will be behind the wheel. Although gas prices aren’t as high as some predicted, economists say they’re high enough to keep some people home. While you may not be able to control the price at the pump, there are other ways to lower the cost of your summer road trip.

Stock Up on Snacks Many pricey fast food meals can be avoiding during your road trip if you have the car pre-stocked with snacks. Toss fruit, granola bars and crackers into a cooler. You’ll pay far less at the grocery store before you leave then you will at a gas station during your trip.

Budget Gas Before You Leave
Even before you back out of your driveway you can budget fuel costs for your summer road trip. Check out AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator and find out how much you need to pay for transportation. This way you can avoid any unexpected surprises in your travel budget.

Slow Down
While you may be in a hurry to get to your destination, slowing down can save you money. As soon as the speedometer tops 60 miles per hour, your fuel efficiency plummets. According to a report from Fox Business, slowing down can save you as much as 33% on your fuel costs. Plus, it’s safer which is always an important benefit.

Consider a Rental Car
You may want to leave your gas guzzler parked in the garage. Even with the fees associated with car rental, it could be a more cost effective option for your summer road trip. Check out fueleconomy.gov for a side-by-side cost comparison that will pit your car against a rental.

Fill Empty Seats
Fill empty seats in your car with paying passengers. Use a free service like rideboard.com to find people who need to get from point A to point B and are willing to chip in for gas. Best case scenario, you meet a cool person you never would have encountered otherwise. Worst case scenario, you have extra money to spend during your vacation.

By Alison Storm

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